Last weekend, over 80,000 music lovers gathered in Manchester, Tennessee, for Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The annual event offers an exciting weekend of live performances ranging from comedy to music to cinema, as well as camping, food and drinks, yoga, art installations, community events, and more.
Music festivals like Bonnaroo have become increasingly popular destinations for experiential marketing campaigns to explode. At festivals, brands are able to give attendees special experiences to remember and take home with them by utilizing interactive booths. Many booths play off of the music festival vibe by encouraging activities like hair braiding or wearing glitter, staying hydrated and cool in the heat, charging phones, tasting food and drinks, or giving away fun, free items.
By engaging with brands in a memorable way at a festival, people are more likely to remember the company in the future. This is especially true among millennials, who often feel more likely to engage with a brand if they have already been exposed to the brand at an event. Experiential marketing efforts can help to establish important emotional connections between consumers and brands. Immersing people in the culture of a brand in the context of a music festival is a great way to establish interest and loyalty, especially among young consumers.
Many brands made lasting impacts on this year’s Bonnaroo crowd with forward-thinking experiential marketing campaigns. Festival-goers especially loved LG’s LaundROO Lounge and Vintage Clothing Swap. This was LG’s first event of this kind, and it was a huge success. The air conditioned, interactive lounge featured a long row of washing machines and dryers, all free for attendees to use. Bonnaroo is known to be extremely hot in temperature, so many people were grateful for the option to wash their outfits at the end of the day. Everyone loved the ability to escape the heat and wait for their fresh clothes in the comfort of the cool air.
LG also had a special photo booth in their lounge, so attendees could make GIFs wearing their freshly cleaned outfits and send them to themselves via text or email. The LG lounge included TVs with gaming consoles, charging stations, couches and chairs for relaxing, and a vintage clothing swap. LG partnered up with a vintage shop called What Goes Around Comes Around to offer attendees over 3,000 festival-ready vintage clothing pieces to wear.
“At this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, we’re demonstrating the power of LG washing machines and inviting festival-goers to go ahead and have fun, be themselves and #GetDirty — because no matter how dirty or busy life gets, LG can take care of them on the dance floor and at home,” said Dave VanderWaal, the Senior Vice President of Marketing for LG Electronics, USA.
Another brand that made a lasting impact at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival was Lays. Lays created an experiential marketing campaign called Flavor of the Fest. They gave festival attendees the option to taste different chip flavors and vote for their favorite one on their phone. Everyone loves a free snack after a long day of dancing, so this campaign was extremely popular at the festival.
The Red Bull Music Academy created a special experience for the festival, too. They set up a recording studio and living area called Bass Camp where musicians could gather and create music together. Well-known artists came to collaborate with the more amateur musicians. The sound camp was a huge success among attendees.
M&M’s also created an engaging experiential campaign for Bonnaroo. The M&M’s Sound & Color Dome offered a colorful, air conditioned space away from the heat where attendees could watch a live feed of the festival on a big screen. Free samples of M&M’s Caramel were available throughout the festival, too.
Uber had a heavy presence at the festival, as well. Drivers peddled festival-goers from the center of the grounds, Centeroo, to all of the campsites around the Farm. Instead of cars, drivers used pedi cabs. Many bikes were decked out in lights and blasted loud music as they zipped by. Uber even offered free rides for night owls on Friday and Saturday between 3am and 5am.
YouTube was at the festival, too, promoting a new TV series called Impulse. Free screenings of the first episode were available throughout the weekend, and attendees also got a free 30 day trial of YouTube Red when they registered their festival wristbands.
Many other brands were present at Roo, as well. Coleman gave away premium camping gear to lucky winners. Nature Valley offered free, healthy snacks in the afternoons, and late night snack cravers got to try free pizza rolls from 10pm-1am, thanks to Totino’s. Fiat had a design contest with giveaways, and State Farm promoted free Wi-Fi, charging stations, and free gear. The Tap Lounge by Miller Lite was a success, as well as the Bacardi Bay bar at Oasis – a beach complete with sand volleyball and palm trees.
Overall, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival was jam-packed with awesome experiential marketing campaigns. Brands were able to connect with consumers by creating memorable experiences that people are sure to remember. Offering interactive fun in addition to free gear proved to be successful at this festival. Brands should be on the lookout for creative ways to connect with audiences at music festivals, because they offer tons of opportunities to build lasting relationships with new consumers.